For the final day of the bird drawing class, we were lucky enough to have access to mounted birds from the collection of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Some of these were absolutely gorgeous. A few were moth eaten or had been passed around to a few too many people. The dates on these specimens went back decades. But having a bird that will sit still while you draw is a real thrill.
Look at the back claws on this baby! The name, meadowlark, sounds so pastoral, but those claws bring to mind cockfighting. Perhaps the birds just need a really strong anchor on a branch on windy days?
The course was drawing, not painting. Imagine how much fun this would be in full color. I took several snapshots and am hoping to move on to the watercolors of him/her soon.
Building tiny armatures of wire, tin foil and masking tape for papier-mâché circus dogs.
This new found passion began a few weeks back when I discovered myself without power during Hurricane Matthew, but recalling directions on how to cover plastic and styrofoam Dollar Store pumpkins with papier-mâché, I started wrapping some old pumpkins and cats’ heads in papier-mâché. That was the most fun that I have had in ages.
For the past few weeks, I have been taking a bird drawing class at our local botanical Gardens. I have never taken a botanical class before. Back when I got my degree in art ed, the focus was on abstract. Being figurative was regarded as a sure sign of repressed creativity. I recall one painting professor who would hold all night painting sessions so that we could learn to ‘paint loose’. His true preferred painting technique was to throw paint at the canvas.
It has been a huge surprise to find myself in a drawing course where the focus is on being really, really really tight. Last week we focused on wings and feet. Below is one of my wings. We were encouraged to count and number the feather so that we got each one correct and in the right place. All that I can say is that there are a boatload of feathers just on one wing!
It’s a late start to #inktober this year. I did a bit of playing with vectorizing the image, which lets me play with the line quality on the computer! It’s also the only time that I’ve used Adobe Illustrator and not wanted to slap the computer.
I have been using watercolor paper as the background for this series of acrylic paintings. The paper has a nicely smooth texture for the paint that makes slide onto the paper. I can then build up lots of color as a glaze layers.
Summer in the South is an almost tropical experience. Everything grows and grows and grows. I used to be completely lost in the colors of the flowers, but now I find myself becoming intrigued by the patterns of the foliage. This painting experiments with both.
Continuing experiments with acrylic paints. I have been using matte medium, since I don’t like the sheen and plastic-feel of acrylics. I could use Acrylic gouache, but I am not wild about the lack of intensity of the colors in most acrylic gouache – and there is the cost. Why is acrylic gouache so darned expensive???
Cats tend to assume that they are invisible, but if you look hard, you can still find them. This painting is in acrylics. I am intending to do some larger works on canvas and gouache just won’t work for that, so I am staring to learn to use acrylics. Transparency is the biggest issue. Gouache gives lush rich color. Acrylics seem to take many many coats (and I am reportedly using the ‘good stuff’ – Golden artist quality). There’s a learning curve, definitely.
In the spring, it seems that everything in Charleston, South Carolina is in bloom. The magnolia and jasmine make the air sultry sweet. Color is bursting our everywhere. This painting was inspired by a tiny patch of garden that was past its prime – there’s a tulip stem, but no flower. Yet it was a splash of color.
This was done a couple weeks ago and was one of my first experiments in using gouache on a toned drawing paper instead of white watercolor paper. The smoothness of the page is great for gouache. Since this was just after Mother’s Day (and I have a sweet family), a fanciful bouquet was the perfect painting inspiration.